Dove’s digital faux pas

The ‘Dove Real Beauty Pledge’ has hit a major snag with their latest digital ad posted on Facebook back in October. The 3 second video labelled racist and insensitive has since been removed with Dove posting an apology on twitter not long after.

If you watch the ad in full it depicted three women of different ethnicities, appearing as each other after their shirts have been removed. The model at the centre of it all, Lola Ogunyemi even defended the advertisement and clearly explained the narrative of the advertisement which had no intention to offend or to be seen as racist, but all it took was for a Facebook post to go viral overnight to diminish Dove’s reputation as a brand for all women and calls for boycotting Dove’s products.

This should be a warning for all companies and advertisers to test and be aware of all the possible negative implications an ad can have. No matter how good your intentions are, if your message isn’t clear it can be easily misconstrued.  The popularity of fake news, meme culture, and gifs should be considered in when making ads, especially during the final approval stages.

Dove says that all their models get the final seal of approval but one person’s subjective opinion isn’t enough. An increase in diversity in marketing teams and leadership roles in the company could provide a different perspective.

For a beauty brand that built its image on women embracing their size, shape and ethnicity, you would like to think that they would be more aware of the consequences of getting it wrong as they have done previously but was it taken out of context this time and what else can companies do to prevent this from happening in the future?

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